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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September, 2003, 07:04 GMT 08:04 UK
Cancer alert over pasta sauces
A number of Sainsbury's products have been recalled
A number of Sainsbury's products have been recalled

A potentially cancer-causing dye has been found in a range of popular pasta sauces, the Food Standards Agency has said.

There is no immediate threat of illness but consumers have been warned not to eat them as a precaution. Jars of the sauces should either be returned or thrown away.

The brands affected include Bertolli as well as own-label sauces made for supermarket chains Sainsbury's and Safeway.

The alert follows the discovery of a red dye, called Sudan 1, in chilli powder used in the sauces.

The chemical is normally used for industrial purposes in solvents, petrol and shoe polish and is banned in food.

The Food Standards Agency said those most at risk were people eating contaminated products regularly and over a long period of time.

Authorities in France first raised the alarm in May when Sudan 1 was discovered in UK-made chutneys and relishes.

As a result, the EU ordered member states to examine imports of ground chilli in addition to random tests on products.

Three companies in India have been identified as the source of the contamination, and have had their licence to trade suspended by the Indian Spice Board pending further investigation.

A very small quantity of the dye was found but as a precaution we are recalling everything
Sainsbury's statement

A spokesman for Unilever Bestfoods, which makes Bertolli, said: "The dye was identified by our supplier in Italy during quality assured checks and they notified us.

"The brand is certainly well known but the one we have named is the only product with chilli powder in."

A Sainsbury's spokeswoman said: "A very small quantity of the dye was found but as a precaution we are recalling everything."

Consumers with jars of the Bertolli sauce can get further information by phoning a special recall number (0800) 146 252.

The Food Standard's Agency said members of the public and retailers who had purchased a contaminated product, with a date code between May and September 2005 inclusive, should either throw it away, or return it to the supplier and request a refund.

List of products


Italian Tomato and Mascarpone

Italian Sun-dried Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar

Be Good To Yourself Mediterranean Vegetable Stir-in Sauce

Italian Hot Mixed Peppers Pasta Sauce.


Safeways Red Pesto

Sun-dried Tomato and Balsamic Vinegar Stir-In Sauce

Chargrilled Red pepper and Vegetable Stir-in Sauce.

The only sauce in the Bertolli range affected are 185g jars of Pesto Rosso.


Favourit Madras Curry powder

Favourit Aromatic Spicy and Hot Madras curry powder

Favourit Chilli powder

Favourit Fine Ground Chilli Powder.

The Favourit products affected have been distributed in Northern Ireland by Holmes Cash and Carry in Enniskillen, Newtownards, Cookstown, Ballymena and Coleraine as well as Knox Cash and Carry, Lurgan Musgrave Cash and Carry, Belfast and TNB Catering Food Services, Newtownabbey

The products have also been supplied by Supervalu and Centra retail shops.

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